2004 Paragon Award / Recreational Swimming
John Leonard has been the Executive Director of the American Swimming Coaches Association in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since assuming that position in January of 1985.
In the process of growing the Association from 1600 members in 1985 to 5,200, Leonard has overseen a staff that has developed educational programs and services that include 22 different types of coaching schools; overseen the development of a Certification program that has certified over 8,000 coaches in 19 years; organized the model national learn to swim school in SwimAmerica which has taught over 1 million American youngsters to swim; and turned the American Swimming Coaches Association into an advocacy force to be respected in national and world swimming and world sport.
Leonard began his coaching career in Syracuse, NY, where he developed numerous national qualifiers, national scorers and a 1976 Olympian, while building an 800 member swim team and managing a 35 pool city Aquatics Recreation program.
John was a founder of the World Swimming Coaches Association in 1988, and still serves on the Board of that Organization. He received the USA Athletes Appreciation Award in 1996, for his strong anti-doping actions in world sport.
An accomplished writer and editor, Leonard has authored over 1000 articles on the sport of swimming, written four books on swimming and edited three others, in addition to making clinic presentation in 26 countries around the world. He regularly provides presentations form groups ranging from swimming parents and coaches to sports administrators.